Asia-Pacific stocks set for lower start ahead of China, U.S. inflation data

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SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific looked set for a lower start on Wednesday as investors await the release of inflation data from China and the U.S.

The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 26,110 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 26,060 — lower than the Nikkei 225’s last close at 26,167.10.

Australian stocks also appeared poised to dip, with the SPI futures contract at 7,014, against the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 7,051.20.

China is set to release its inflation data on Wednesday, with the consumer price index and producer price index for April both set to be out at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN. The data releases come as the mainland continues to battle its worst Covid outbreak since the initial phase of the pandemic in early 2020.

The U.S. April consumer price index is also set to be released Wednesday stateside, and is expected to come in slightly below March’s 8.5% which could signal that inflation has reached a peak.

“The US CPI for April is today’s, indeed the week’s, highlight,” Joseph Capurso, head of international economics, wrote in a note.

“The consensus of US economists expect headline inflation to decelerate significantly from 1.2%/mth in March to only 0.2%/mth in April because retail petrol prices have stabilised. But core inflation is expected to step up slightly from 0.3%/mth in March to 0.4%/mth in April,” Capurso said.

Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 climbed about 0.25% to 4,001.05 while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.98% to 11,737.67. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lagged, falling 84.96 points — or 0.26% — to 32,160.74.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 103.92 — above levels below 103.8 seen earlier in the week.

The Japanese yen traded at 130.34 per dollar, stronger as compared with levels above 130.5 seen against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6937 as it struggles for a bounce after declining from above $0.70 earlier in the week.

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